Health

The world’s first golden bananas could save the lives of thousands of children in Uganda!


James Dale, is a professor from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, along with his team, have created a banana called “golden banana”.

This type of banana is fascinating because it can help children that are deficient of provitamin A, in Uganda. This amazing discovery was published by The Plant Biotechnology Journal. Hopefully, this discovery will make farmers in Uganda grow these bananas by 2021.

Creating golden bananas

In order to create golden bananas, researchers are modifying cells from regular bananas. These cells later become banana embryos and then grow into plants. In order to achieve this, the researchers needed 12 years of tests. There are now scientists in Uganda that replicate the original process, by using local bananas.

According to professor Dale, they took a gene from a banana that naturally contains provitamin A, and inserted it into a Cavendish banana. During the time of their research, they created a banana that is high in provitamin A, and characterizes in golden flesh.

People that are living in rural communities in Uganda use bananas as staple food. But the bananas they are using is the East African Highland banana. This type is packed with starch but it contains little nutrients like provitamin A and iron.

Each year, around 700,000 children die of lack of provitamin A. There are even more that turn blind and experience infertility, dry skin and delayed growth. This is the reason why golden bananas is such an important discovery and can be considered to be a turning point for the children in Uganda.

The scientists prior to agreeing on the final recipe, sent a test tubes with the right banana genes to Uganda. Then, other researchers conducted a field trials by inserting them into local types of bananas.

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